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St John supports double crewing of ambulances

St John Media Release                                                                                                                                                                         5 December 2007


St John supports double crewing of emergency ambulances and increased funding to deliver this

St John supports the development of a mandatory ambulance sector standard, St John Chief Executive Jaimes Wood said today.

St John also supports the full (double) crewing of emergency ambulance responses; which has been St John’s organisational position for many years.

“The crucial point is that in order to deliver full crewing of all emergency ambulance responses, St John needs to receive increased Government funding,” Mr Wood says.

The St John submission to the Health Select Committee inquiry calls for a substantial lift in government funding for the St John Ambulance service – from about $75 million a year now to reach at least $150 million a year by 2015 to:

§       ensure double crewing of emergency ambulances wherever possible

§       employ an additional 400 paid full time equivalent Ambulance Officers over a phased eight year timeframe (but this could be accelerated)

§       ensure all our Ambulance Officers receive the necessary clinical training.

The ambulance sector standard currently in place - promulgated by Standards NZ - is voluntary, and states that emergency ambulance responses should be double crewed.

However, the Crown funding agencies (the Ministry of Health and ACC) have chosen in their contracts to date with St John not to fund St John sufficiently to enable full crewing of all emergency ambulance responses, Mr Wood says.

“Within current Government funding and St John fundraising we do everything we can to provide a fully crewed response to every emergency requiring a fully crewed response – and we provide an exceptional service from the funding available that deservedly enjoys public confidence,” Mr Wood says.

“When full crewing is not possible due to unavailability of sufficient resource or a higher than usual number of callouts in one area, we believe it is better to respond a single crewed vehicle than responding no vehicle at all, with backup provided as soon as possible where required.”

Standards NZ is currently leading a process to develop a new ambulance sector standard in consultation with interested parties and with public consultation.  “This has been an inclusive process that is being thoughtfully followed,” Mr Wood said.

Standards NZ has established an Expert Committee, with more than 20 representatives from interested parties including from the wider health sector.

The Expert Committee includes representatives from New Zealand road ambulance service providers (including St John), Ambulance NZ (the sector association), the Ministry of Health, ACC, the Aviation Industry Association, District Health Boards, the NZ Nurses Organisation, Maritime NZ, the NZ Defence Force, Auckland University of Technology, the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners and the Federation of Ambulance Officer Unions of NZ.

“This process has had significant input from interested parties including the Federation of Ambulance Officers Unions of NZ (representing about 95 per cent of paid ambulance officers nationwide),” Mr Wood said.




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